Building off the terrific "Captain America: The Winter's Solder," comes this much anticipated sequel, "Civil War," - but it really is a sequel to the Avengers: Age of Ultron. (The movie could also have been titled "Captain America vs Iron Man," with a little help from their friends.)
The idea of having heroes turn on each other has been used many times before. Fortunately for Civil War, the Russo's are exceptional at comedy, (Community) and they liven up that tired trope with great set pieces and fun action sequences amidst a cavalcade of super heroes. For the first time Ant Man and Spider Man join the MCU's ensemble and add a lot of fun to the proceedings. And then a dynamic Black Panther joins the pantheon of stars.
"Winter's Soldier" is in my top two Marvel movies of all time and while its sequel has a lot to enjoy- I did find the basic conflict a bit hokey.
A major theme in Civil War, are the "unintended consequences" and or "collateral damage" that happens in any brutal conflict. It's a valid issue to bring up because the MCU never addresses the carnage that's inflicted on the general population.
When alien hordes attack New York City or when Ultron raises Sokovia, many innocent people die and get injured and this movie plays on that theme throughout.
And after an unfortunate incident that killed more innocents in the opening, the world has had enough of it, so 100+ countries sign onto the Sokovia Accords to try and control our supposedly unaccountable super heroes.
Most of the heroes agree, even egomaniac Tony Stark, because they feel it's the right thing to do to calm down the world. They could then work at making a better agreement when the heat dies down, but Steve Rogers doesn't want to be controlled by anyone so he's the big hold out that refuses to sign.
The tension between Stark and Rogers revs up again after their clash of egos in Ultron. Then Bucky Barnes gets implicated in a bombing that kills a King, and Captain America comes to his rescue, again.
I yawned when I saw what Cap had in mind. Putting his friendship with the Winter Soldier ahead of the entire world and his Avenger friends isn't very compelling, but that's the setup. It's obvious that Bucky wasn't the culprit, but since Rogers is helping his friend, he becomes an outlaw.
The Russo's do a great job of keeping the action light and funny and then in the finale, up the heat when Stark and Rogers finally take the gloves off as the villain reveals his master plan.
The big showdown between the opposing superheros, which is staged on a German tarmac was splendidly done.
Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) is a real badass and a welcome addition to the MCU and Todd Holland's Spider Man cameo was fantastic also.
Even though I wasn't thrilled with what put iron Man and Captain America at odds, the movie is very entertaining and a cut above.
My verdict: It's well worth the amount of cash you have to spend for the tickets, drinks and popcorn.